The Diversity Digest speaks with Marcia Ore the Equality, Inclusion and Diversity Partner at the UKAEA
The UK Atomic Energy Authority runs the United Kingdom’s national nuclear fusion energy research programme. Fusion is the process that powers the Sun, and it can play a big part in our carbon-free energy future by giving the world a safer form of nuclear power. UKAEA’s mission is to deliver sustainable fusion energy and maximise scientific and economic impact along the way.
Why were you attracted to the Equality, Inclusion and Diversity Partner vacancy at UKAEA?
I was attracted to the role due to my passion and interest in equality, diversity and inclusion – which began during my 30-year career as a Police officer. I was drawn to the fact UKAEA showed they wanted to make progress in developing an inclusive and diverse workplace. This is the first full-time role which focusses solely on EDI they’ve ever had. I also relish a challenge and this work is challenging.
What does your role as equality, diversity and inclusion partner involve?
As the EDI Partner I work with departments and programmes providing advice, guidance and support on related issues, deliver workshops, organise internal events, and attend external events to liaise with other EDI professional and find good practice. I also write and publish blogs and invite UKAEA colleagues to contribute by writing sharing their experience and knowledge on different related topics.
I am responsible for delivering UKAEA’s strategy, monitoring and reviewing policies and strategies designed to ensure that UKAEA, its staff and stakeholders engage with legislative and strategic duties and comply with good practice. In addition, the prioritising UKAEA’s resources, ensuring attention is focussed in appropriate areas effectively.
What does equality and diversity mean to you?
If I said ‘everything’ it would sound melodramatic to some people, but it means everything. As a black woman, a single parent, a carer for my mother with dementia, and now support my wife to care for her stepfather who has Alzheimer’s – equality, diversity and inclusion is an extremely important influencer on every aspect of my life. Indeed, everyone’s life at some point.
Why do you think equality, diversity and inclusion is important to UKAEA?
It’s important for UKAEA because we are accountable under the Public Sector Equality Duty, we must comply with the Equality Act 2010, but more importantly our ability to deliver fusion energy relies on our people, their skills, talents, creativity, knowledge and experience. EDI is all about people. It makes sense too from a humanitarian and business perspective to look after our people, whoever they are.
What are you and UKAEA doing to improve equality, diversity and inclusion across the organisation?
Our internal diversity and inclusion training have been reviewed and new training (which incorporates equality and diversity, unconscious bias and bystander training) has been designed which is due to be rolled out across the organisation. We have gained the Athena SWAN Bronze award on two successful submissions and have inclusion ambassadors dispersed across the organisation.
We are looking at introducing ‘Being Inclusive Champions’ for each of the protected characteristics and have already established four employee resource groups including our inclusion ambassadors, LGBTQ+, Parent Buddies and Mental Health First Aiders. We have also recently developed dedicated imagery for our equality, diversity and inclusion agenda as “Being Inclusive”.
As the ED&I Partner – what do you aim to achieve in the next few years at UKAEA?
In the next 18 months it is my intention to publish UKEA’s first equality diversity and inclusion strategy as well as to launch three new employee resource groups for Black and Minority Ethnic Staff, individuals with Disabilities (hidden and visible) and Women.
What do you enjoy the most about working at UKAEA?
I am not a scientist, physicist or engineer but the work being done here I find fascinating. There are good people working here. Coupled with the fact there are approximately 45 nationalities and 20 languages spoken on site makes in an interesting place to work – bringing the Sun to Earth in the heart of Oxfordshire.